The Weekend Read – Wilful Blindness by Margaret Hefferman

Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

In her latest book, Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t see – not because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re wilfully blind. She examines the phenomenon and traces its imprint in our private and working lives, and within governments and organizations, and asks: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? Why do some people see more than others? And how can we change? Examining examples of wilful blindness in the Catholic Church, the SEC, Nazi Germany, Bernard Madoff’s investors, BP’s safety record, the military in Afghanistan and the dog-eat-dog world of subprime mortgage lenders, the book demonstrates how failing to see—or admit to ourselves or our colleagues—the issues and problems in plain sight can ruin private lives and bring down corporations.

The book explores how wilful blindness develops and then goes on to outline some of the mechanisms, structures and strategies that institutions and individuals can use to combat it.

Essential reading for anyone involved with healthcare particularly the NHS – its publication in the same month as the Francis report into North Staffs is presumably coincidental – you’ll learn more from this book than the report.

Available from Amazon.

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3 Responses

  1. […] The choice of people who should know better to ignore what is happening is yet another example of “wilful blindness”. […]

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  2. […] blog piece today. He sums up a lot of my present thoughts. In Margaret Heffernan’s book Wilful Blindness she argues that our biggest threats are not the things we cannot see but those that we can. But […]

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  3. […] with numerous reports and initiatives isn’t it time that everyone got rid of the attitude of Wilful Blindness, spoke the truth and acted accordingly. Edmund Burke said, “all that evil needs to prevail is […]

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